Consumer perception of Chick-Fil-A has dropped significantly in the wake of perceived anti-gay comments made earlier this month by the company’s president, a drop that highlights the risks of corporate entities dipping their feet — or mouths — into sensitive social/political issues.
According to a BrandIndex study by the market research company YouGov, Chick-Fil-A’s index score dropped from 65 on July 16th to 39 on July 25th.
July 16 is the date that Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company is “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.” Those comments created a controversy that spread across both social media and traditional media, with many accusing the company of being anti-gay and anti-gay marriage. As the chart below shows, the controversy has cost Chick-Fil-A its previously positive brand image among fast-food eaters.
(In the chart, “QSR” stands for quick-service restaurant, the industry name for fast food outlets.)
YouGov says Chick-Fil-A’s “brand health” is now at the lowest level it’s been since August 2010. It was one of the top five fast food chains in the U.S. during the first half of this year, and has never before fallen below 46 points — the average score for fast food restaurants.
In the southern U.S., where Chick-Fil-A has the bulk of its restaurants, its BrandIndex score dropped from 80 to 44. The biggest drop was in the northeast, where the score fell from 76 to 35.
The BrandIndex score can range from 100 to -100. It represents, according to YouGov, “an average of key scores measuring quality, impression, value, reputation, satisfaction and willingness to recommend.”
(tip via NRN)